In town, back in the neighbourhoods and areas that hold so many memories. Not even thinking of them as good or bad memories anymore, just as memories. A recall of times past and life the way it used to be.
This visit is, for some reason, a rough one already. Driving from the ferry, the emotions started going downhill. Tears and sadness as I drove through the different areas from the ferry to our home stomping grounds in Port Coquitlam.Burnaby, Vancouver, highways and streets that I navigated for years as my life was what it was. So much changed now, physically, so much altered emotionally.
I found myself driving last night to our old home together. After I dropped my oldest son off at work, it wasn’t an option, it was simply directed somehow. I needed to be there… to see the place where “we” were. The “we” that is lost now. The “we” that I miss so much that it hurts – that hurt so heavy this weekend that it’s palpable and sharp in my chest.
My logical mind tells me to just drive back to be with the other boys and go to bed; it’s late and I’m tired and emotional; and what purpose is going to be served by “torturing” myself by visiting the past, literally. My heart steers the car though and I turn off the car as I park outside our old home.
It’s dark out and I can see into the windows; the lights are all on and the blinds are open, giving me the opportunity to visually go inside. It’s hard to see though through the tears. So much is going on in my head. This was where we moved after the divorce; just me and my boys – again. I loved this place. It was where we started over and where it was so good. Where I found “me” again as I made the decision to change my life and voice my priorities. The diningroom where we all sat while I explained that I would be working less and we would be having more fun. Where we planned our first family vacation in years. Where we found “us” again after a marriage that almost destroyed us. The “us” being me and my boys. All that mattered and was needed together under that roof. The lawn where we exploded the diet coke bottle with too many mentos; the back yard that should never have been cut by a son with hay fever allergies; the house with enough bedrooms for everyone but that still saw them all crammed into one room anyways – brothers that, while they could fight like crazy, were close enough to want to sleep on the floor so they could all be together for movie nights in one bedroom. The kitchen that saw Son 2’s chicken cacciatore, not only welcome after my rush hour drive home, but amazingly tasty too. The kitchen that I found Nerf guns in the cupboards – hidden the night before for a sneak breakfast attack. The living room that saw man-sized teenage bodies stuffed into crazy hiding spots for a game of hide and seek to entertain the littlest brother. The bathroom that was the constant source of arguments – and laughter of goofyness; hair gel, first shaving attempts and straightening irons for thick curly hair they cursed. The house where we all re-discovered laughter and silliness in life.
Tears as I looked and saw the pain there too. The hallway I watched Willie storm down more times than I care to remember. The bedroom that held laughter turned to words of anger and hatred as tempers flared as we all struggled to understand what was wrong. The living room that held the couch that I kept finding Willie on, asleep and cranky even in the middle of a summer day. The bathroom that he would lurk in for hours, hating his appearance and trying to find something he liked in the mirror. The dining room that saw months of him not speaking at meals, glaring when spoken to. His bedroom and the walls that I had to paint when we moved to remove the words written to me, by him in anger. The window that I was staring out as I called his dad to come get him when he threatened and raged on the weekend visits from the psychiatric ward; scared of my own son and who he had become.
The stairs that I stood at the top of as I watched our belongings leave as we moved at the end.
Trying, through my tears last night, to see the good that was there and the happiness that we had… and not see the way it ended.
Driving away… wishing so badly that I had him to visit and not just memories.